P.A.W.S. Patrol

Raegan Foster/Correspondent

We have all seen the cats that call our campus home. Like other colleges and universities, ERAU is not just home to some students, but also a cat colony. These cats are not a nuisance or a problem, but rather serve a crucial role in maintaining the cleanliness of ERAU as “working campus cats”: reducing the rodent population on campus, which has proven to be a massive issue in the past. Countless attempts to manage the colony have occurred over the years, but their results were only temporary or made the situation worse. That is, until now.  A group of concerned students founded the P.A.W.S. (Protecting Animal Wellness Society) Club, dedicated to the well-being of the students, our working campus cats, faculty, and staff on campus. This plan includes the strategic implementation of TNR, trap-neuter-release. This method is a standard and humane approach to control our working cat population here at ERAU. Together with Halifax Humane Society, P.A.W.S is working on training their members on the safety and importance of TNR, so they can efficiently carry out this process without harming or being harmed by the working campus cats.

After months of preparations—including training by the staff of the Halifax Humane Society in TNR and legal work—P.A.W.S. is in the final stages of putting a TNR program in action, which will include humanely trapping the cats, making sure they are healthy and spayed/neutered and then assessing their potential adoption. Adopting out cats is P.A.W.S.’s main priority, and any cats that the Humane Society deems to be adoptable will go to new, loving homes. P.A.W.S. Facebook page will post which cats that are up for adoption. Any cats that are too feral to be adopted will be safely returned to campus to live happier and healthier lives. It is of utmost importance that only members of P.A.W.S. or professionals participate in this program. All club members participating in this are identifiable by distinctive clothing and signs posted with the P.A.W.S. logo. If you do see the members or heir traps, please let them do their work with helping the students, campus, and our working campus cats.

Photo Courtesy: P.A.W.S. / One of the Embry-Riddle cats around campus, relaxing in a bike basket.

P.A.W.S. is also taking action on establishing a university-approved feeding station. This station will be identifiable by P.A.W.S signs and its distinctive look. The reason a feeding station has been put in place is to discouraging any individual feeding of the cats as there is a clause in the ERAU Student Handbook that prohibits individuals from feeding the campus wildlife. The P.A.W.S Club has received permission as an organization to interact with the cats and manage the feeding station. All member of the P.A.W.S club will be following P.A.W.S club regulations. Having a feeding station will minimize the risks of any individual getting hurt by the working campus cats. P.A.W.S is kindly asking these individuals who are feeding the cats to refrain from feeding as it is interfering with their mission as a professional organization. The working campus cats have a job, and that is to eat the unwanted rodents on campus and keep our university safe from rodent infestations. Please look out for signs from the club informing the public about the organization and their focuses.

If you would like to assist in this effort, feel free to come to the club meetings or contact one of the members; club meetings are held Thursdays in the COB from 7:30 to 8:30 PM; the rooms may vary and will be identified with the P.A.W.S club logo. To contact the club directly, please direct all messages to bourovak@my.erau.edu.